University of Oulu

Hökkä M, Pölkki T, Lehto JT. Nursing Students’ Views of the Content of Palliative Care in Undergraduate Education and their Self-assessed Palliative Care Competence—A Nationwide Cross-sectional Study. Journal of Palliative Care. 2022;37(3):434-442. doi:10.1177/08258597221084445

Nursing students’ views of the content of palliative care in undergraduate education and their self-assessed palliative care competence : a nationwide cross-sectional study

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Author: Hökkä, Minna1,2; Pölkki, Tarja1,3; Lehto, Juho T.4,5
Organizations: 1Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Finland
2Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, Kajaani, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
4Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
5Palliative Care Centre and Department of Oncology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-01-03


Background: The importance of integrating palliative care (PC) education into undergraduate nursing studies has been recognized. Still, there is considerable variation in the PC education of nurses.

Objective: To study the nursing students’ views of the PC contents during the nursing education; students’ self-assessed levels of PC competence; and whether prior education or work experience influence these views.

Methods: A cross-sectional study. Data were collected using a questionnaire which was tested for its content and construct validity and internal consistency. The sample consisted of final-year undergraduate nursing students (n = 1331) from Finland.

Results: The response rate was 94%. Of the students, 94.4% considered PC education to be quite or very useful, but only 51.9% reported the achieved PC teaching as quite or very good. Teaching on mental symptoms, existential issues and multicultural aspects were considered incomplete. Over half of the students wanted more education on pharmacological- and non-pharmacological pain management. Students with previous education assessed their PC competence as quite or very good more often than other students (70.1% vs. 54%, P < .001), and more often felt that these competencies are relevant to their profession (72.2% vs. 57.6%, P < .001).

Conclusions: PC was considered as a useful subject, still only about half of the students reported the received PC education and their competence on PC as sufficient. Previous education or experience may enhance PC competence highlighting the need for divergent teaching. The results identify development needs for the contents of PC education in undergraduate nursing studies.

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Series: Journal of palliative care
ISSN: 0825-8597
ISSN-E: 2369-5293
ISSN-L: 0825-8597
Volume: 37
Issue: 3
Pages: 434 - 442
DOI: 10.1177/08258597221084445
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Funding: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article: This work was supported by the EduPal- project, which is a national flagship project funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland (Decision 29.3.2018 OKM/258/523/2017). The first author was granted by Durchman foundation and Sairaanhoitajien koulutussäätiö as a personal research grant. The funder had no role in the design of the study or in the writing of the article. The content of this article reflects the views of the EduPal group members. The funder is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. Hökkä M, Pölkki T, Lehto JT., Nursing students’ views of the content of palliative care in undergraduate education and their self-assessed palliative care competence : a nationwide cross-sectional study, Journal of Palliative Care (volume 37, issue 3) pp. 434-442. DOI: 10.1177/08258597221084445.